Remote repair time line and cycle management
- 1 Remote repair time line
- 2 Later repair cycles, cycle management, priorities and more
- 2.1 Remote Repair Pilot Priorities
- 2.2 What does this mean then? Tactics.
- 2.3 Know when to hold'em
Remote repair time line
Understanding the time line for remote repairs deepens your understanding of the remote repair mechanic in all its aspects and allows you to separate the people who happen to fly a RR ship from those who master the mechanic.
There are really two phases to remote repair:
- First repair cycle
- Later repair cycles
Each phase has a number of specific characteristics and is important for a different reason.
First repair cycle time line
The first repair cycle is vital, because if a target is destroyed before a repair cycle is ever landed, remote repair will be completely defeated. The time line doe the first repair cycle should therefor starts much earlier then the actual remote repair module is started. The following image depicts this time line.
The image shows:
- the actions taken by the pilot of the ship requesting remote repair above the time line and with red triangles on the time line
- the actions taken by the pilot applying remote repair below the time line and with double blue triangles on the time line
- some important time spans
Let's go over the sequence of steps in the diagram.
- (Victim) Getting targeted by hostile (also called 'yellow boxed')
- (Victim) Receiving damage from hostile (also called 'red boxed'): Please note: this description is not 100% accurate. When being shot at by normal drones or missiles, you will get a 'red box' first and start receiving damage with a delay.
- (Victim) Broadcasting for repairs: The timing of broadcasting depends both on the broadcast strategy and human delay.
- (Repper) Frees up a lock slot (optional): During a prolonged battle or when flooded by broadcasts, a pilot might have to unlock a current target to be able to target, adding a human delay.
- (Repper) Starts locking victim
- (Repper) Has lock on victim: This is not an actual 'action', but more an event that a pilot has to wait for.
- (Repper) Starts first repair module cycle
- (Victim) ONLY SHIELD: first repair cycle lands
- (Repper) First repair module cycle ends
- (Victim) ONLY ARMOR: first repair cycle lands
Please notice that the times mentioned in the time line are fictional and depend on a number of things, like:
- human response time
- ships, fittings and bonuses involved
- broadcast strategy
Different types of fleets, ships, fits and tactics could require a different broadcast strategy. Often you see the decision to broadcast and when left up to the individual pilot, but in large fleet fights it is critical that a coherent broadcast strategy be determined and communicated if the fleet is going to be a success. Even if your FC doesn't specify a strategy as a pilot in a fleet, you should be aware of these and take them into account. The strategy needs to weigh two major factors:
Frequently broadcasting early (sometimes even when you are just yellow boxed) is necessary for survival. This happens frequently in high-dps fleets and less coordinated high-alpha fleets where multiple ships will be firing but my not be firing coherently.
By putting on repairs early, it maximizes the chance that those repairs will make a difference before you loose your target.
This element is particularly important when dealing with armor repair gangs due to armor remote repair applying at the end of the cycle.
When flying as a remote-repair pilot, (often in large fleets) you can get overwhelmed by the amount of information you have to process. This includes keeping position relative to fleet and enemy, keeping track of what is going on with the enemy so you survive. Keeping track of the tank levels of those you are repairing so you know when to unlock or when to apply or cycle a module, keeping track of broadcasts to see if someone else needs repairing, keeping track of your cap level and keeping track of your cap chain and who in that chain is jammed so you can switch cap transfers as needed.
Similarly in those larger fleets, more people are going to require (or think they will require) repairs, so the list of people you will be attempting to lock and manage will go significantly up.
If the entire fleet broadcasts when they are yellow boxed (or even red boxed) in this kind of environment there is no way to actually manage all of the potential repair targets (if for no other reason than at max you have 10 you can target at one time). To minimize that, often guidelines need to be set on who broadcasts, when and for what.
For example, if you are in a small guardian supported gang sometimes broadcasting for capacitor can be useful if your remote repair pilots can handle it. That same guardian support is unlikely to be able to handle those kinds of requests in a 100+ person fleet and they are likely to clog up their broadcast history (at least for a short period of time as all the guardians set their history to ignore cap requests).
Another example of this is in a large gang fighting a high-damage fleet, the only way to survive is to broadcast very early. This often leads to people broadcasting when yellow boxed who never actually take damage or people broadcasting when a tackler tackles them or one ship hits them and they take very little damage.
In the first example it can be useful if the FC or remote-repair squad leader specifies no capacitor broadcasts. In the second a simple clarification to not broadcast until you are yellow or red boxed by a significant force (not just one ship) can help. In addition, with that many fleet members to tend, remote repairers are unlikely to be able to help certain types of ships (frigates, t1 cruisers, etc) and given their value, priority has to be put on more vital resources. Instructing frigates and t1 cruisers not to broadcast can reduce the number of broadcasts significantly depending on the fleet composition.
Remote Repair Delay
The remote repair delay is the time between when a pilot requests remote repair and when the first rep actually lands. It is important to try to work towards minimizing it, because the effectiveness of remote repair is fully dependent on being able to land that first rep cycle before a ship dies and ideally before it gets damaged beyond the repair buffer.
Five main items factor into this delay: lock time, type of repair, cycle time, time off target and reaction time.
This depends solely on the remote repair pilot's scan resolution and their targets' signature radii. Though there are some things that can be done to help this (sensor boosters and the like), these need to be weighed carefully against other modules that might help survival or counteract ECM. By in large this one is difficult to affect without negatively impacting the survivability of the remote repair ships and by extension the fleet.
One tactic that does work in a very limited situation is to pre-lock any ships you consider to be likely primaries before the start of an engagement. It takes virtually no time to unlock a target if you are wrong and if you are right you just significantly reduced your time to task.
This time is generally shorter in shield remote repair fleets because many shield modules and rigs increase your signature radius, thus making you easier to lock.
Type of Repair/Cycle Time
As has been mentioned before, armor repairs apply at the end of the cycle. When dealing with armor repair, you need to factor in the immutable 4.5-5 second cycle time.
Since shield repairs feed at the start of the cycle, they benefit over armor repair fleet on this.
Time off Target
Frequently in large and long fights, remote-repair ships have their modules fully committed a majority of the time. When this is the case, there is a time delay while the pilot cycles a module and then re-assigns it.
This factor is generally equal between armor and shield gangs and is more difficult to avoid the less experience you have as a remote-repair pilot or the larger and longer the battle.
Anyone who has said that EVE isn't a twitch game obviously hasn't tried being a remote-repair pilot. This is one of the places in eve where having good hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes, the ability to process large amounts of information quickly and a lot of practice can really come into play.
Later repair cycles, cycle management, priorities and more
Once the first repair module has been activated (so before it has landed a rep cycle in case of an armor module), the pilot doing remote repair must start managing his repair cycles. Most of this boils down to:
- Who to lock/watch
- Who to repair
- When to repair them
- When to stop repairing them
- How to repair them
- How many repair modules to keep in action
How the pilot does this depends on quite a list of variables and priorities. Without clarifying the remote repairer's priorities, we cannot effectively discuss how to go about deciding how to manage repair cycles.
Remote Repair Pilot Priorities
As always, this can vary wildly from situation to situation and can be radically rearranged in situations by need or FC dictate. In general however the Remote Repair pilot's priorities are (in order of most important to least important)
- (when in a dedicated remote repair ship) Your survival.
- Other dedicated remote repair ship's survival.
- The FC's survival (this can vary depending on the availability of backup FCs)
- Survival of critical force multipliers (ECM, EWAR, Boosting Ships)
- Fleet survival / Mission Success (feeds into all of these but deserves its own listing)
- Efficiency (feeds into the above but deserves its own listing)
- Any other individual ship's survival
This might seem at first blush as counter intuitive and definitely counter to the priorities of any other fleet member (your survival is usually dead last in the list of priorities), so I will go through each of these and explain why it is where it is in the priority list. Again this is highly situational and there are definitely situations where your survival can be considered dead last as long as doing so guarantees some critical objective. This is just explaining the general case.
Remote Repair Survival (1+2)
Force multiplication, in military usage, refers to an attribute or a combination of attributes which make a given force more effective than that same force would be without it. The expected size increase required to have the same effectiveness without that advantage is the multiplication factor.
Dedicated remote repair ships are one of the biggest force multipliers to fleets that are designed around them. The loss of a single dedicated logistics ship has a far greater effect then the loss of any one other ship as it reduces the effectiveness of all the other ships in the fleet.
Or to put it more simply, if you are dead you can't keep everyone else alive.
The FC's Survival
This is most important when the FC is the only effective leader of the fleet. Though this is definitely a sub-optimal situation (there should always be an XO, backup target callers, etc) it is an all too common one. The loss of the FC can turn an easy win into a complete loss.
Other Force Multipliers
This is here for the same reason remote repair survival is on top. Taking out a dedicated ECM or EWAR boat doesn't just take out a ship, it removes your ability to disable a whole group of enemy ships and sow chaos in their ranks.
Fleet Survival / Mission Success
Arguably this is a super category of all these priorities, but in this case I am referring to a more generalized, if you have to choose who to save, save the one who is more likely to help the fleet survive. (either by winning or by getting out) This is too situational to go into specific examples it is more a way of weighing who to give priority to.
The more efficient you are, the more repair you can bring to bear, the greater your force multiplication factor and the more of your fleet you can save.
You have to be brutal. In large fleet engagements there is no way you can save them all. If it comes down to saving a Falcon or the FC vs saving some expensively fit damage dealer, then the right call has to be made.
What does this mean then? Tactics.
The priorities by themselves answer two of our major items, who to watch and who to repair. The rest are encapsulated in the priority of Efficiency. How can you leverage the modules at your disposal to make the most efficient use of them.
The number of variables that go into choosing how to manage your modules can seem staggering, but most of them come down to one question: How much can you manage? If you cannot manage a certain level of efficiency, you are better off doing less of these and having a lower efficiency than messing them all up and loosing efficiency completely. Choosing which of these techniques to use and when comes with experience.
Just let them cycle
This is the easiest to do and the most likely to be inefficient. The idea here is lock, put one or more of your modules on let it run while you are locking another target that need repping and repeat. If you run out of modules look at your list and see if anyone isn't taking any damage and unlock them. This wastes a /lot/ of your repair capabilities but can be necessary either because of situation or lack of experience. This technique works best against a fleet that is not that situationally aware (i.e. not noticing that you are remote repairing and therefore not switching targets frequently) that is doing damage spread out over time (low-alpha).
Cycle and Purge
As with letting them cycle except keeping much better awareness of your targets and unlocking or stopping repairing a target immediately when they are out of danger or there is nothing you can do to save them. This requires you to be not only aware of how much damage they have, but if they are still taking damage, if there is another remote repairer repairing them enough that you can move elsewhere and in general terms how much abuse their ship can take (so you can pick when to unlock. remember with some ships you don't have to repair them to full if there is a critical target waiting, you can always go back and finish the job later or after the combat). This is better against fleets that are switching targets frequently but still is most efficient against low-alpha fleets.
Stagger, Cycle and Purge
As above except when dealing with low-alpha but high damage where you need to assign multiple modules to a single target, stagger them out and when you can pull one off, pull the one closest to the end of its cycle so you can put it on task faster. This doesn't change the fleet profile it is most efficient against, (still low-alpha) but it does increase your efficiency against that fleet type and makes it harder for alpha ships to notice the pattern of your repairs and try and get in a shot at just the wrong time.
All controls to manual Scotty!
The idea is to understand and observe the pattern of damage being done (is it all being done at once, over time, how much is being done, etc... and manually cycle your modules (either by setting them to not repeat or by deactivating frequently) so you do not waste any repair when you don't need to. This can be very effective if you can observe the pattern of damage. For example, if multiple targets are taking alpha damage and you can switch modules between them right after they take damage and quickly move it to another target after one cycle, you have multiplied your effectiveness. This works because some high-alpha ships have really long cycle times (upwards of 20seconds or more) and in those 20 seconds you can use your modules up to four (more realistically three) times. This is the most effective against alpha fleets but requires a high degree of situational awareness.
All of the above
Basically the most complex method is to mix and match these depending on the damage profiles. The reason it is more complex if you adopt just one of the above, you can get into a pattern. Even with the manual method you can entrain yourself to use these keyboard shortcuts when you see x, etc. With mixing all of the techniques above it breaks that pattern. Consequently it is the most complex and the most effective as well as keeping the enemy from picking up on your patterns.
Know when to hold'em
In addition to the above there is one other piece that can affect all tactics. This is knowing when to hold back.
There are several situations when you might want to hold back a module or two. The easiest example is if you are running out of capacitor. If you can't run them all, you can't run them all. Optimally you realize this before you run out of cap because it take a lot longer to regenerate from zero then it does from 30%.
As an addendum and a nod to priority one, you might want to hold back a module if using that module would require you to turn of your tank (or afterburner if it is a part of your defense). It is more important that you stay viable rather than running all your reppers all the time.
You also might want to hold back a module or two in order to keep one available for emergencies. By reducing the time to de-cycle, you can bring that emergency module on to task a lot faster (up to 5 seconds faster).
And finally, in certain situations, under-repping (see Remote repair concepts) a bait ship can keep an enemy on a less valuable or better tanked target or even on the field.
What to hold back is a very personal and situational decision but it is a tactic to consider.